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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Unfortunately For David Williams, His Divorce Court Records Will Be Unsealed Before The Primary Elections. We Hope There's Nothing Too Embarassing.

David Williams, ex-wife fight motion to unseal divorce records
Written by Andrew Wolfson

BURKESVILLE, Ky. — An attorney for state Senate President David Williams objected Thursday to publicly unsealing depositions from his 2003 divorce that showed the Republican gubernatorial candidate reported gambling losses of about $36,000.

Opposing The Courier-Journal’s motion to unseal the records, Angie Capps, an attorney for Williams, said he concurred in his ex-wife’s opposition to releasing the documents to protect her privacy.

In an interview later, Williams said, “The bottom line is I respect my former wife and I respect her privacy.”

In a hearing before Cumberland Circuit Judge Eddie Lovelace, Capps accused the newspaper of conducting a “fishing expedition.”

“Why is there such an urgency now … other than to use it in a smear campaign?” Capps asked.

The newspaper’s lawyer, Jeremy Rogers, responded that the fact Williams is running for governor is a “game changer.”

The depositions of Williams and his ex-wife, Elaine Webb, were taken in 2003 for a divorce granted that May.

Lovelace said the burden is on Williams and Webb to show why the depositions shouldn’t be released and gave Capps 10 days to give her reasons in writing. The judge said he wants to make a ruling before the May 17 primary, in which Williams is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

Webb’s lawyer, Danny Butler, already filed a motion on her behalf opposing unsealing the records, citing privacy concerns.

“Both parties have remarried and have gone on with their lives,” Butler said.

Most of the pleadings in the divorce had been made public. One of them showed that Williams — who has opposed casino gambling in Kentucky — reported gambling losses of $36,147 during a four-year span a decade ago.

Williams confirmed those losses in an interview this month. He said there is no inconsistency between his gambling and his strong opposition to legalizing casinos or slot machines in Kentucky because he never denied that he went to casinos or said he had moral objections to casino gambling. He reiterated his long-stated view that it is not good public policy to expand gambling in Kentucky or rely on it as a revenue source.

Williams said he has not been to a casino in more than two years and never had a gambling problem. He noted that in order to report those losses for tax purposes, he had to have won a greater amount than he lost.

Webb, then Elaine Grubbs Williams, cited Williams’ gambling in a motion for maintenance, saying that “it can hardly be said that he cannot afford to pay” maintenance “when over the past years he has spent large amounts of money gambling.” That motion was denied by Lovelace, who ruled that she had enough assets and income to support herself.

Rogers said during the hearing that under Kentucky law, divorce and other court records are presumed public and that a court must adopt the narrowest possible approach in sealing them, such as redacting only Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and other arguably private information.

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